Held on Aug. 27 at Kennesaw State University, the inaugural Great Southern Food Truck Festival offered cuisine ranging from southern to hibachi. The rally was a smorgasbord of mouthwatering smells, delicious food, live music and fun games.
Admission was $11 at the door, but attendees had the option to purchase tickets early for a one dollar discount. Adults could purchase VIP Georgia Brew tickets, which gave them a variety of Georgia craft beers, souvenirs and access to private bathrooms — a step up from the always enjoyable portable restroom experience available for free. Some of the breweries offered included Jekyll Brewing, Dry County Brewing Company and Orpheus Brewing.
The tickets did not include food, but many of the food trucks offered sampler plates for $2–$4, giving visitors the chance to enjoy many trucks. Some of campus’ favorite food trucks were represented, such as Nana G’s Chicken and Waffles, Mac the Cheese and Ibiza Bites.
The fare reached further than the South of the U.S. with Willy’s Mexicana Grill appearing alongside Tasting Maine and Bollywood Zing. The variety gave patrons a more complete food
truck experience over the marketed “Southern” food truck rally. There was food for every palette, from gourmet to twists on comfort food.
The Freaking Incan, a Peruvian Street Food Stand, offered Sliced Hot Dogs and Fries — which is exactly what it sounds like, fried sliced hot dogs on a bed of fries. The fries were crispy and salted well, but they were not extraordinary. The hot dog slices, which may or may not have been smothered in ketchup once it passed through the window into hungry hands, were a safe and appetizing choice to start the tour of foods. The menu also included chicken empanadas, which smelled delicious as the orders made their way out the window.
Happy Belly offered a healthy alternative to the other trucks. Few patrons seemed interested
in their menu, which featured brussel sprouts and kale. While the event offered a chance to explore a variety of foods, the people’s choice was not a healthy food truck.
To beat the sweltering heat, Big Easy Sno Balls brought back nostalgic memories of childhood summers with their large cups of shaved ice and bright neon saccharine syrups. Rita’s Italian Ice also aided in cooling down the masses. Local staple King of Pops sold a multitude of flavors. Although not edible, cooling stations were located throughout the event, misting people sweating under the sun rays.
Southern Routes, one of the Southern food trucks, plated up delicious meals. The pimento grilled cheese was delectable and slightly overstuffed, but too much cheese is never a bad thing. The crisp and soft Texas toast was heavenly combined with the gooey pimento cheese. Cheese Fritters and Jelly and Cajun wedge fries were also ready to be dished up.
The ultimate comfort mac and cheese was all the rage at Mac the Cheese, which can be found on campus on Tuesdays. The truck tempted with reinvented classics, such as Spinach & Artichoke, BBQ and Lobster. Mac’n’cheese bites with Sriracha Honey Mustard was a satisfying side when paired with Buffalo Chicken Mac.
Lobster, lobster and more lobster was on the menu at Tasting Maine. The target audience for this food truck is those who want to experience Northeastern seafood flavors in a variety of forms. With lobster rolls, mac’n’cheese, bisque and grilled cheese, lobster can be the main attraction of a five-course meal, with the exception of dessert.
Cheese was a common theme among many of the food trucks, which is understandable given the Southern theme of the event. The Muenster Truck cooked up an assortment of divine grilled cheese sandwiches. The sandwiches oozed wonderful hot melted cheeses and were loaded with choice meats. Some of the items served on Saturday were The Big Kid with Muenster and American cheeses, Tex Melt with smoked brisket and provolone, and the ‘Merican with pulled pork and American cheese.
Another truck that offered twists on childhood favorites was Pallookaville. Some may remember Pallookaville Fine Foods in Decatur, which moved to Avondale Estates. Pallookaville recereates the corn dog with different sausage meats. With names like Corndogula — beef frank — and Cornleone — Italian sausage — eating at this truck is both an entertaining and delicious experience.
No Southern food event is complete without a great barbeque. Uncle C’s BBQ boasted their own original BBQ sauce. Pork, chicken, beef sausage and ribs smothered in the tasty BBQ sauce made up the small but satisfying menu. For those patrons who fell in love with the unique sauce, bottles of it were sold so the taste could be enjoyed at home.
After consuming a variety of savory food, the desire for dessert lead to Creperie, The French Truck and A Roaming Bistro. Covered with a dollop of whipped cream, the Creperie’s melty Nutella and banana crepe concluded the day of food sampling pleasantly and left behind a Nutella-coated tongue.
Voting cards were handed out at the entrance to vote for favorite food trucks, and results were tabulated at the end of the night. The award for best food truck design, “Peachy Ride,” was won by Ibiza Bites, which visited campus weekly last year.
Tasting Maine took home the award for “South in Yer Mouth,” the best savory food truck, while the “Southern Sweets” title was claimed by Chocolate & Spice Eatery. King Kabob reigned the category of “Southern Fusion.” The rally crowd awarded Freaking Incan “Y’alls Pick.”
By showcasing the South’s burgeoning food truck scene, the Great Southern Food Truck Rally connected hungry visitors with award-winning vendors. The entertaining atmosphere of live music and a variety of games made the entry price worthwhile. With such success, the Rally will likely become an annual staple of the festival and food scene.